Joseph Kony, Child Soldiers, and the Rule of Law

Joseph Kony, Child Soldiers, and the Rule of Law

Fighting against the human rights abuses of Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, the organization Invisible Children has released "KONY 2012," a 30-minute video that has gone viral in social media with tens of millions of views.

Youth have taken up the cause, from Tweeting (#stopkony), posting on Facebook, and donating time and money to this human rights cause. One even sees young people carrying "KONY 2012" and "Stop Kony" posters along urban streets in order to increase awareness.

What makes the video so compelling is how the it reveals Kony's abduction and use of child soldiers to commit atrocities, including murdering their own parents and facial mutilation of Kony's opponents. During the past 30 years, it is estimated that the LRA has forced more than 20,000 children to become soldiers. In the case of abducted females, they become sex slaves for the LRA. This isn't an abstract concept but real faces and names are now attached to what's happened at Kony's behest.

To be sure Joseph Kony is a horrible man who should be apprehended and brought to justice for his crimes before the International Criminal Court. In October 2011, President Obama ordered up to 100 military advisors to deploy to assist the Ugandan government's hunt for Kony and his army.

Complicating the Ugandan government's task of capturing Joseph Kony, the Lord's Resistance Army has moved to neighboring countries. This makes it easier for Kony to operate because Uganda's military has to concern itself with respecting the sovereignty of its neighbors while pursuing a war criminal. Those neighboring states need to understand that harboring such a criminal mocks their own efforts to protect human rights.  Regional efforts to catch Kony and stop the LRA's havoc are long overdue.

Invisible Children wants the public to apply pressure to key celebrities and politicians to make Joseph Kony a household name so that the hunt will continue. The viral nature of the Stop Kony video ensures that the public is aware of his crimes and the need for his apprehension. If anything, the release of the video increases the likelihood that Kony will be apprehended sooner.

Unfortunately, the world has many psychopaths who are or aspire to follow in Joseph Kony's footsteps. Bringing Kony and the LRA to justice would demonstrate a global commitment to fight such war criminals and protect the human rights of those whom these monsters would violate in their quests for power.

Recommended Reading

Joseph Kony 2012: It's fine to 'Stop Kony' and the LRA. But Learn to Respect Africans, Christian Science Monitor (Mar. 8, 2012)

'KONY 2012' campaign goes viral across World Wide Web, San Francisco Chronicle (Mar. 8, 2012)

Joseph Kony: Brutal warlord who shocked world, CNN (Mar. 9, 2012)

How Social Media Made Joseph Kony The Web's Most Hated Man, WSJ (Mar. 8, 2012)